How to prepare for a stress-free dinner party
Dinner parties are a great way to enjoy an evening with friends and family - but they can definitely be stressful. You can get so wrapped up in trying to make beautiful dishes while being the perfect host that it's easy to forget you're supposed to be having fun.
Don't spend your next dinner party fussing and fretting over burnt sides, soggy desserts or spilt drinks. Here are some top tips from expert foodies on how to throw the perfect party without breaking a sweat.
Making delicious food look easy
Dinner parties needn't be all fancy and ohh la la, a bit of comfort food and some laughter can work just as well.
"Don't put too much pressure on yourself. Yes people would love to eat something delicious, but they are also there to see you and have a good time." Margie, Made by Margie.
You can even use food as entertainment for your guests too.
"Making your own tacos or fajitas or filling your own pancakes is a great way to break the ice at the table." Amy, She Cooks She Eats.
Credit: Made by Margie
Prepare as much as you can the night before
"Prep anything you can the day before (like desserts which can be left in the fridge overnight). You can even set the table the night before if you're super organised!" Gillian, Elevatormusik.
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Why not prep a big casserole the day before and put it in the oven to warm through on the day? If you'd rather cook on the night, make sure you have enough space for the pans and dishes to cook on!
"Check if you have enough oven or hob space for all the things that need cooking at the same time." Siobhan, Bless the Weather.
This may seem obvious, but can you cope with just four hobs? Or do you need an all singing, all dancing fancy six hob oven to cook for your dinner parties?
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Make your dinner guests feel at home
It might only be a casual dinner party with friends, but you want to be known as the "hostess with the mostess"; here are a few thoughtful tips to make your guests feel special.
"Check with guests in advance to see if anyone has an allergy or special dietary requirement. To make things even easier, choose dishes that can be easily adapted to be vegetarian or gluten free." Gillian, Elevatormusik.
"Don't forget a jug of water and some glasses on the table. Add lemon, lime, mint, orange or cucumber for a little something extra." Siobhan, Bless the Weather.
Credit: Bless the Weather
Create a dinner party buzz
It might not be a night out on the tiles but there are loads of ways to jazz up a night in. If all else fails you could break into charades again.
"Go with a theme. It's always lots of fun and you can decorate your table to match your cuisine." Emily, Recipes and Reviews.
Set the tone of the night with background music to suit your food and your guests' tastes.
"Make a playlist that's long enough to last the whole evening. Put all your favourite albums in a playlist and put it on shuffle." Siobhan, Bless the Weather.
Fling off your apron and enjoy yourself
"My most important tip to remember is that none of it really matters other than having some fun and spending quality time with your guests. Even if your house is a mess and all your food burns, go get a takeaway or go out to eat and don't sweat about it." Siobhan, Bless the Weather.